Southwestern Chicken & Barley Chili

It is finally starting to feel like Autumn around my parts.  And, with the change in weather, comes a change in cravings . . . well, at least for me!  I love to have something warm and comforting when the weather cools down and this recipe soothes the Autumn soul.  It is loaded with flavor and the texture, thanks to the Barley, is very hearty.  Thanks to its heartiness, it’s a very filling soup too!  I’ve known children and adults alike to gobble down this chili.  So, add it to your Autumn line-up.  I’m pretty sure you’ll love it too!

Southwestern Chicken & Barley Chili
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cups frozen corn kernels

Garnishes: sliced green onions, chopped bell pepper, chopped tomatoes, light sour cream, cilantro

In a large pot (about 6-quarts), combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne (if using). Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink. Stir occasionally, while it simmers to prevent sticking and to make sure it stays at a steady simmer. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes. Serve the chili with optional garnishes, if desired.

The chili will thicken considerably upon cooling. Add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency (especially if reheating the leftovers).

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Heaping Cup)
Calories:  265
Protein:  29.7
Carb:  35.5
Fat:  1.7 (0.1 g = Sat)

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